House Science Committee: a parliament of Creationists, Climate Deniers (and dunces)

Writing in Scientific American, Ashutosh Jogalekar bemoans the famously terrible state of the House Committee on Science, a farcical body stuffed with climate deniers and young Earth creationists. At a recent hearing, committee member Randy Weber (R–TX) implied that science couldn't really make claims about things that happened tens of thousands or millions of years ago, because it couldn't directly observe them. It's a terrifying position for a legislator who sits in a position of power over national science policy to hold.

Jogalekar claims the committee is turning into a national embarrassment, but as Chris Baker points out, any notion of the committee changing over time is an Evolutionist lie from Satan, because the committee are exactly as God created them at the beginning of time, 6,321 years ago.

The farce continued with another Republican member trotting out the tired old examples of global cooling and dinosaurs:

“I remember in the ’70s, that [cooling] was the threat, the fear,” Posey recalled. Then he pivoted. “I’ve read that during the period of the dinosaurs, that the Earth’s temperature was 30° warmer. Does that seem fathomable to you?”

From the described exchange it seems that the members have zero interest in knowing the truth or understanding how science works. Sadly this rancor, ignorance and lack of respect for science and scientists is business as usual for Republican members of the House committee. After all, the subcommittee responsible for climate change is, quite appropriately enough, led by a climate change denier (this literally sounds like something out of Orwell). 17 out of 22 members of the larger committee either deny that climate change is happening or question that human activities are responsible for it; the chairman of the committee himself is skeptical about global warming. And of course, let’s not forget committee member Paul Broun who thinks evolution is a “lie from the pit of hell”.

No wonder that scientists like me find it refreshing when we hear about billionaires appreciating and funding basic research. Pretty much all politicians in this country seem to have lost respect not just for the findings of science but for the basic nature of the scientific method, but let’s be clear: one party disproportionately more than the other is holding science back. It’s a little surreal to see people like Weber, Broun and Smith on the science committee but such is the age we live in. Nonetheless, the prevarications, ignorance and feet-dragging in that party reflect poorly on the entire political establishment. When none other than the House Committee on Science is stacked with people who literally live in the Middle Ages in their ignorance of science, hearing a kind word about science coming from any direction is a breath of fresh air.

The House of Representatives Committee on Science is turning into a national embarrassment [Ashutosh Jogalekar/Scientific American]

(via Wil Wheaton)

(Image: Creation Museum Wrecking Ball, Jelson25/Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

Notable Replies

  1. Yes, but it's the House. There's a reason the House can't have a pet hamster anymore.

  2. The Corporatists and Theocrats have succeeded in turning us into a nation of idiots.

  3. petzl says:

    Every time I see that misstated "millions of years" claim, I wince.

    It's funny that Ken Ham et al cannot even bear to correctly state their adversary's position. It's billions of years, Ken. Billions with a B.

    When I hear the "millions" claim, I think of how gleeful Republicans are when they use "Democrat" as an adjective (when "Democratic" is of course the correct, non-pejorative term). I think Ham and his ilk use "millions" instead of "billions" for the same derogatory reason.

  4. I suggest a small tweak that can solve this problem:

    We create two science committee: One called "House Committee of Science" and other called "Fun House Committee of Science".

    -The first one will review and debate real science. Boring, dull science.

    -The second one will review talking snakes claims, women birthing rabbits, frog rains, phlogistron outbursts and mole-men.

    Of course, all reports from the Fun House Committee of Science will be illustrated by Ruben Bolling and published as Super Fun House Committee of Science Pax.

  5. This is all just a big misunderstanding. The science committee isn't supposed to PROMOTE sceince any more than the House Un-American Activities Committee from the 50s was supposed to promote Communists.

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